Bedtime Routine Tips from a Well-Rested Mom of Two
As a busy mom of two, I have learned that one of the most important things for a child’s health and well-being is sleep. While we almost always stick to a strict bedtime routine in our house, things tend to get off track in the summer. The days are longer and we take full advantage of time outside. Also, our kids are a lot more resistant to bedtime when the sun is shining! As summer comes to an end and the start of school is around the corner, this is around the time I make an effort to fine tune our schedule and routine in preparation for the transition. I’m here to share some tips that have made this a seamless task (almost)!
Tip #1: Be Consistent
This is definitely the key to having success with developing and maintaining a bedtime routine. Sleep experts suggest following the 80/20 rule. While you should stick to the same bed time and wake time 80 percent of the time, there is room for some flexibility about 20 percent of the time. If you follow this rule, the days that your routine might be slightly off won’t “ruin” the hard work you have done on the other days. Consistency is so important for bedtime success!
Tip #2: Create a bedtime routine
I absolutely love routine so it’s no surprise that my kids do, too! While our routine does have a lot more flexibility in the summer and on the weekends, I have noticed that their sleep habits are a lot better when we do the same thing every night. Our routine includes bath, playing with a quiet activity (ie. Puzzles, dolls etc), brushing teeth, books, cuddles and bed. Whatever your routine includes, make sure it is done at the same time and in the same order every evening. The activities that take place before bed will signal to your child’s brain that it’s bedtime, making falling asleep a lot easier.
Tip # 3: Create a dark room
While fall is around the corner, we still have time before the days get shorter (thankfully!) and therefore, the sun might be out when you’re starting to put your little ones to bed earlier. I have tried everything under the sun to ensure my kids’ rooms are dark at all times, and the best solution I have found is garbage bags taped across the window! While this might not be the most stylish method, it works! Whatever solution you choose (black out curtains, garbage bags, cardboard) ensure that there is not light trickling in when the lights are out. It’s a lot easier to fall asleep in the dark because the brain is signaled for melatonin production which promotes sleep! I also do this in my own room to ensure total darkness when I’m in bed, works like a charm.
Tip #4: Ditch the electronics
Studies show that the blue light from electronics before bed can affect your quality of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that you stop using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. We stick to the one hour rule in our house and if you’re sticking to your bedtime routine above, this shouldn’t be a problem! I have swayed from this rule before and almost always regret when I do. It takes the kids a lot longer to fall asleep, and their whole sleep routine is thrown off. Stick to this rule as much as possible, and notice the differences in your children’s sleep when you don’t, you might be surprised with what you notice!
Tip #5: Be patient
Adjusting to a new bedtime routine can take time. Your little ones have probably had a lot more flexibility during the summer months and there may be resistance when you’re trying to fine tune your children’s bedtime routine. Have patience with your children but also have patience with yourself. Stay consistent and the results will come!